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Study: Why shoppers choose offline over online

BY Marianne Wilson

Physical stores still have some key benefits over online retail.

An overwhelming majority (72%) of U.S. consumers cite “the ability to touch, feel and try products” as their top reason for shopping brick-and-mortar. That's according to a new study by Mood Media, “The State of Brick & Mortar: 2017,” which reveals consumer insights regarding the in-store customer experience and in-store shopping behaviors. The study is based on a survey of more than 11,000 consumers in nine countries across the globe, including Australia, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Mood commissioned the survey to better understand what influences consumers’ decisions to choose brick-and-mortar over online shopping, what they most enjoy and don’t enjoy about the in-store experience and what most motivates them in the physical store. The study also explores the influence of a store’s atmosphere – including music – on the overall shopping experience.

“The tangible, tactile nature of brick and mortar is still viewed as a very real advantage, as is the desire for instant gratification,” said Scott Moore, global senior VP of marketing for Mood Media.

The study also reveals that shopping as a form of entertainment remains important to the majority of people around the world, particularly among younger ones. In the U.S., one in three shoppers aged 18-24 rated the “atmosphere and experience” as a top reason they choose in-store over online shopping.

"Consumers, particularly younger consumers, aren’t just buying a product when in-store; they’re buying an experience," said Moore. "Those businesses who deliver an elevated customer experience witness greater repeat visits, a greater number of recommendations and longer in-store dwell times.”

Some highlights of the study include:

• Waiting in line is the top in-store frustration of U.S. shoppers, at 60%. Items or sizes being out of stock ranked second, at 47%.

• If a store is playing music, 84% of U.S. consumers cite that “the shopping experience is more enjoyable;” 81% say that their “mood is lifted;” and 70% express that they “feel like it’s a brand they can relate and connect to.” And 77% said waiting in line is less dull if music is playing.

• Nearly half of U.S. respondents (46%) confirmed that they would like to be able to influence the music playing in-store.

• When music is partnered with visuals and scent to create a branded in-store atmosphere, 59% of U.S. respondents surveyed say they’re more likely to “revisit” (72% of those aged 18-24), and 54% say they’re more likely to “recommend the place to others” (65% of those aged 18-24).

• Also, 60% of 18-24 year olds cited that an enjoyable, branded in-store atmosphere would make them more likely to “stay (and shop) in the store longer.”

• Fifty percent of U.S. consumers surveyed would like to receive immediately redeemable discounts pushed to their phones while in-store. Interest in receiving among 18-24 year olds came in even higher, at 67%.

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C-SUITE

Toys ‘R’ Us exec trades toys for tires

BY Marianne Wilson

A former executive at Toys "R" Us has joined the executive team of Bridgestone Americas.

Bridgestone named Joe Venezia as president of Bridgestone Retail Operations, effective June 19, 2017. He most recently served as executive VP of global store operations at Toys "R" Us. Venezia joined the toy retailer in 2014 as senior VP, store operations. Prior to Toys "R" Us, Venezia was senior VP of operations and head of stores for convenience-store chain The Pantry.

Bridgetone Retail Operations, a subsidiary of Nashville-based Bridgestone, operates the world's largest company-owned network of tire and automotive service centers nationwide. It has more than 2,200 tire and vehicle service centers across the United States, operating under a variety of banners, including Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus, Michel Tires Plus and Wheel Works.

"In recent years, BSRO has developed and executed a singular focus on driving operational excellence and delivering a consistent, world-class customer experience across our retail store network," said TJ Higgins, president, North America integrated consumer tire group, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. "Joe's diverse retail and operational background will help us build upon our progress in those critical areas."

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Regional grocer improves workforce efficiencies

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Lowe’s Foods is taking steps to increase efficiency across its workforce.

The grocer is adopting enterprise labor planning and workforce management solutions from Logile across the chain’s nearly 100 stores operating in the Carolinas and Virginia. The solutions will help the grocer generate more accurate sales and labor forecasts, and improve scheduling at the task level across all store departments.

“The increased efficiency and more precise staffing will allow our hosts to spend more time engaging with guests and in making their shopping a true pleasure and not a task,” said the chain’s senior VP, Mike Clawson.

Lowe’s corporate and store leaders also worked directly with Logile’s re-tail industrial engineers to implement various efficiency principles in all stores. These included 5-S workplace organization, a method that organizes a work space to improve efficiency and effectiveness, and efficient work methods to foster more efficiency across the workforce. The grocer also added engineered labor standards, or defined timelines for associates to complete specific tasks.

“The results of our collaboration will yield greater productivity, customer service, safety, and host job satisfaction and personal ownership,” said Jamie Edwards, manager of labor scheduling at Lowe’s Foods.

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